Wednesday, June 21, 2006

So it's been a while

Sometimes, I just don't have the energy to blog. No, not that I cannot muster up the energy to literally type, but there are times I just don't want to think. Or, more likely, that the things I would blog about are themselves tiring or emotional, and the act of writing about them is tiring and emotional, which is where the energy comes in. But, stiff upper lip and all that, right?

It's been a busy time around here, but also a weird, good, bad, who knows kinda time. Busy because we've been researching some career options and other things like working on the house (finally painted the kitchen wall where the fridge used to be - and the previous homeowners didn't paint behind the fridge..sheesh, cheapos!). Busy finding info we need on the internet and sending off a few forms. Busy cause payday always brings bill-paying and such. Busy with some scrapbooking, trying to get through a circle journal group with all 14 layouts done at one time (UGH). Busy with two 3 1/2 year olds who don't mind and don't listen and are little hellions every day.

Here's the thing. My children are bad. I mean, yeah, they are wonderful, cute, fun, surprising gifts from God, but they are also awful. They are the same age, at the same age of development. They do not have an older sibbling to influence them on better behavior. They gang up on us. We do not have a house that offers a lot of options either. We started using a corner in the hallway for time-out. Sit here, alone, with nothing to play with sort of thing. But putting them both in time-out is really really impossible. Basically, that's because I can't literally hold them both down at the same time as they fight being in time-out, of course. So we moved time-out to their room. One day I took them both up there, made them put all the toys in their toybox, then I shoved the toybox into the guest room. I went back in, told them they were in time-out and were staying in their room, then I put a toddler handle on the inside of their door and left. I so needed that break. I was literally in tears with them, praying to God for guidance.

Unfortunately, when in their room against their will, they will sit against the door and rock back and forth against it - HARD - and have done something to the door or doorknob or both. The husband discovered that this morning. So, for now, I don't have their room for time-out.

It's hard to describe it this way and make it sound as bad as it is when they are "being bad." That particular day, they were spitting. Spitting on the floor, on the dog, on the furniture. Then they were hitting me, throwing blocks and things at me, and so on. They don't listen when I say stop. They don't listen to warnings. I just don't know what to do with them when they get wound up like this. Like now. Since I started typing this entry, I've chased them upstairs twice, given 4 spankings, taken their tv show away, and had to put the dog out where he doesn't want to be so they will leave him alone.

I try for quiet time, since they don't nap. I try for time-out. I try ignoring some things so as not to give them a reaction. I try chasing them and spanking (not hurting, just "spanking"). I try all kinds of tactics. Nothing works. Today, it literally occurred to me to take the shirt off Maddie's back and throw it in the garbage because she loves her kitty shirt so much (I can't even get her to take it off for the laundry). I need to get their attention, and I don't know how.

What I do know is that I am worn very very thin. Either I never should have tried to be a mom, I just don't know how to do it, I"m not mean enough, I"m too mean, I'm too easy, I"m too strict, I don't know. What I do know is that this is so hard. Every single day I fight them. I love them more than life itself, but they are wearing thin on my nerves these days. Someone tell me that it gets better! I hear often from friends, well, he/she gets it from his/her older brother/sister, and such. Well, I don't have that to work with. These two fight so much, egg each other on, it's ridiculous. They really FIGHT, too. They pinch, bite, hit, kick, spit. It's awful, and I don't know how to stop it.

So why haven't I blogged in 2 weeks? Well, it takes forever sometimes when referreeing the above-mentioned stuff. Also, it's hard. It's hard to talk about this stuff and not dredge the tears back up.

Fun things - had a great dinner with friends the other night. The downside (well, other than that the dinner made me really really sick) is that the dinner was a going-away dinner for Tina. I hate that Tina is moving. HATE IT!!!! You don't make a really good connection often, and I feel like I have that with Tina. We became pretty good friends pretty fast, and I think that is because we have a lot in common. Sometimes you think you are friends with people, then they turn out to be totally not who they purport to be or even who THEY think they are.....don't you wish sometimes those people could see how full of shit they are? Anyway, back to Tina. Love Tina. My girls love Tina. My dh even loves Tina. And now Tina is leaving. Contact will remain, but it won't be the same. No last-minute calls to get together. No play dates. No MNO. I guess we'll just have to see what's what as time goes. Bye, Tina.

Serious things - been doing lots of talking with the husband about our future. Since the job has turned out to be something that sucks for lots of reasons, definitely not what we planned for when moving here all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in August 2004, we're considering other options. The husband has near-complete academic credentials for teaching, and the notion of falling back on that is looking really good to us. Considering possible relocation to Illinois where the family lives. I'd love for the girls to have more time with their Opa and Oma, as well as their cousins and aunts and uncles and everybody. Wouldn't hurt us either. Sis in law's visit really meant so much to the girls and to us. Would love to be able to do that more. The Champaign area is pretty nice, a good size, and probably good-living and home prices for us, too. We requested transcripts and have other calls being made and forms printed out. I've talked to the State Department of Education in Illinois, but have also printed out the Iowa info. Good thing I worked for the Dept of Ed for 10 years back home! I know my way around this stuff. The husband is only lacking student teaching, and early word is that it might be possible for him to get that WHILE teaching with a regular certificate. We'll see! As we've talked about this and all, I see that he definitely has a spark for teaching; he loves kids of all ages; he's just enough of a goof to be a good teacher, too. You need to not take yourself too seriously in order to relate well to the kids, I've found. Of course, figuring out how to live with that kinda pay cut? YIPES, not sure. Parttime work in our future, for a while anyway!

What else? Well, hell. That's enough for now. OH, Tori! I haven't done much emailing either, but love ya, girlie, and miss you!!!!!!


Tori of timandtori said...

I so wish there was something I could do to help, some wonderful words of wisdom for raising children or changing jobs. Unfortunetly I'm not really sure if having children is for me/us (don't get me wrong-I LOVE children-I'm just afraid I would be a spank-a-holic ALL the time) and changing jobs/career paths really isn't anything new for me-I'm fearless when it comes to making moves (of course I don't have a large family to worry about-just tim-and he can take care of himself!!).

I know that moving closer to oma and opa (and family) is an option-just promise me that you will think LONG and hard first. ALL parents are better when they are 3 hours away (I am NOT being mean-just honest). Maybe Rock Island, IL/davenport, IA area has something to offer?

I'm confident that the girls will grow out of this stage...I would think that continuing with the time outs, being firm, and other discipline actions will eventually sink in (it did for your hubby and I :O)

I'll be over to see you soon-sometime in August. I love you all (even the hellions) and will continue to think, pray for a better future.

Jocelyn said...

well, i'll send you some sturdy rope and maybe you can tie them down with it. You probably have strong adhesive. You can even tape them against the wall! Yup, sounds good to me.

so i was watching supernanny (haha. no, i'm serious), and besides the fact that you should get one of those, i learned that you should never scream at the kids, even when you're frustrated. just because they'll scream back. they did a "reflection room" where every time the girl talked back or did something bad. it's this room where she can't do anything, but sit there. and you check back every 9 minutes, and if she wants to get out, she has to apologize to whoever did something bad. i know you don't have a room, but maybe try the rope plan as a substitution? or even the bathroom? i used to have to do timeouts in the bathroom. funny i still remember 4-year-old timeouts, huh?

well, good luck, tracey! and if you DO move to illinois, move further north than champain- like chicago area, and i'll babysit. i'm good with kids. and i promise, no ropes :)

Amy said...

Tracey, I can't imagine how hard life must be with your girls...especially when they seem to be bent on misbehaving. Know that I keep you in my prayers and am here if you need a shoulder.

Cricket said...

Wish I had some words of wisdom to make ya feel better. I'm sure your girls will grow out of this but I can see how defeated you must feel at times. Big hugs to you! Wish you'd move closer to me..Chicago area, then we could play!!

Keep the faith girlfriend, things will get better!

Cricket :)

Heather said...

Oh Tracey...I can sooo relate with the challenges the girls are giving you. I somedays think SuperNanny will wind up on my doorstep too...that could be a good thing and a bad thing...I don't think I want to see my behavior on dvd I know its not the best way to be handling it but I am only one person right. And speaking from experience having an older sibling doesn't mean the girls will behave better with seeing better behavior from the sibling...hasn't worked here thats for sure! I know I wish I had a answer for you other than "they will grow out of it"...>I worry what if he doesn't with mine....I cringe to think of this ten fold with a teenager!! :o Yikes!! Hang in there girl...I like to think we are strong enough to get thru it!

Julie S. said...

Awww Tracey, hang in there girl! It sounds like you are doing all the right things. It's got to be hard when they out-number you! Maybe you could put them in separate rooms for time-out. I like the idea that they have to apologize before they can come out, and maybe "behaving" in time-out could be a pre-requisite for coming out. Maybe they need to be apart more. Do you have anyone that could take one for a short while and you can spend time with the other? What about on weekends when DH is home? And how about rewards? Have you tried this? You know, if one decided she REALLY wanted the reward and got it and the other didn't, maybe the next time they'd BOTH get it. It's worth a try! I vote for Northern IL too!! We could have a Kick-A$$ time!! You are a GREAT mom, do NOT second guess yourself! They are at a difficult age and you just need to nip it in the bud! Hang in there! I'll be praying for ya!

Anonymous said...

Sounds difficult for sure!!! Do you watch "Super Nanny"? I highly recommend it. They recently had a family on with 4 little kids all under 5 and they were so very destructive and aggressive. Turns out -- they were bored. They needed more structure. Mom wanted to clean or do other things and would tell them "just go play" and they were bored and adrift, so they hit each other, destroyed things, etc.

SN set up a family schedule by the 15 min mark, written out on a poster, and hung up in th ekitchen, and reviewed it with the whole family. 1 hr in the morning [with mom] and 1 hr in the late afternoon [with dad] was "Productive Play" time. They were not just sent to "play" but had actual activities with mom or dad joining in. Stuff like water play in the yard or fingerpainting or doing puzzles or something. And eveyrthing else was scheduled/structured and it was posted with times -- so get up, cleaned up, dressed, breakfast, productive play, lunch, quiet time [with DVD/book], etc etc all day every day. It really helped a lot. Mom would refer to th eposter with th ekids and say out loud what they were supposed ot be doing and when so everyone knew 11:15 meant it was time for..[----]

Also, she does not do time outs -- she does the Naughty Spot, which can be a stool or rug or corner, and they were separated if they were naughty and they sit there as many minutes as they are old [so for 3 yr old, it is 3 minutes]. Mom says "if you don't stop [name it - hitting, spitting, etc] you are going IN THE NAUGHTY SPOT for 3 minutes." And when they do it again, immediately are picked up and put on the spot. If they get off they are returned. No conversation, no talking, put them back and walk away [can watch from around the corner to make sure]. Then at 3 min Mom goes back, gets down on their level, tells them "you were put in your naughty spot bc you [name it] and that is not acceptable. I want an apology." The child says sorry, then give hugs and kisses, and it's all over. If not, back for 3 more minutes.

I have been watching that show for a while and it seems really effective. The best i could say is, if you could set up some kind of schedule and post it so they can see, maybe with pictures next to a clock face? And put some productive play time in there with other scheduled things around that? I'm sorry you are having a tough time -- it must be very hard.

kath said...

Try not to be so hard on yourself. Being a parent is HARD!! Some days, David has me wanting to run away and join the circus. Seriously. Plus, we have an older sibling-she's taught him such wonderful sayings as-Don't touch me-shut up-that's mine-leave me alone. David sounds like your girls. He doesn't listen to warnings. Time outs are a joke. I can't imagine having two of him. Yikes! And it really shines a light on us when my friends kids are so much better behaved. I often wonder why is he like this? Will he grow out of it? Wish we lived closer, we could tag team our little spit fires together. (((hugs)))